​Team Engagement is the subject of this week's Looking Ahead, as I continue to update on our plans and areas of focus for 2016/17 which are:

  • Purpose, Values and Principles
  • Clinical Optimization
  • Caring Safely
  • Patient Experience
  • Team Engagement
  • IT Transformation
  • Michener Integration
  • Research and Innovation

The most consistent message that I continue to hear during my intensive, immersive, and iterative learning tour of UHN is "I love my team". I have heard this message everywhere in the organization - in research labs, in education centres, and in clinical units.   Indeed, we have a culture that values and creates a team approach to care, problem solving, innovation, and the support necessary to deliver on our mission of research, education and teaching. In this context, our change from Staff Engagement to Team Engagement is intentional because we recognize that everyone at UHN is part of a team whether they are an employee, a physician, a scientist, a volunteer or a patient.

Our most valuable assets are our people. Given this, we will focus many efforts this year on workplace wellness, workplace safety, and building capabilities and capacities in key roles in the organization such as our Managers. We will be conducting a 'deep dive' in areas of the organization where we see low engagement scores in the Employee Survey results, with a view to understanding the drivers for suboptimal engagement. With this knowledge, we can develop action plans that are informed by studying high engagement units inside our organization and utilizing principles of a learning health organization where best practices are shared to elevate the performance level of the entire UHN Team.;

One excellent example of team engagement is the hospital-wide safety huddle that happens every day at each of our clinical sites. These huddles bring together the senior vice president, clinical directors, and team members from throughout the site including managers and representatives of clinical units, patient flow, infection prevention & control, pharmacy, SIMS, human resources, facilities, security, public affairs, imaging and laboratories, to name a few. This engagement approach surfaces operational, logistical and safety issues from the past 24 hours of operations and looks ahead at issues that impact the next 24 hours of operations. I regularly hear about the rapid turnaround on key issues brought forward in these huddles and the commitment of our SVPs to a daily check-in with key functional leaders. This approach demonstrates the commitment that we all have to each other and our patients.

We will continue to invest in leadership development throughout the organization at all levels. This includes our current programs including Emerging Leaders, Lead Up and the UHN Rotman Leadership Development Program, along with specific enhancements that we will make in areas informed by our study of high performing units.  Information about all current learning opportunities at UHN may be found here as part of the Human Resources and Organizational Development page. We will also be working in a number of ways to develop high potential physician leaders, using a number of tools including the Physician Quality Improvement Initiative, the CanMEDS competency framework, and a specific commitment from Dr. Charlie Chan and myself to these efforts.

We hope to have many of these plans finalized by April. The definition and best practices report for clinical leaders should be completed by September and approval of leadership competencies should be completed by December 2016. All of this work will be led by Emma Pavlov, the Executive Vice President - Human Resources, Organizational Development & Michener Operations and Charlie Chan, the Executive Vice President – Clinical Programs, Quality & Safety.

Together we will build on our past successes and enhance the skills, capabilities, and resiliency of the entire UHN Team.


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